Trump petition may be heard at full council

An artist's impression of the new development at Menie
An artist's impression of the new development at Menie

Councillors will decide whether or not to debate a petition calling on the authority to apologise over its handling of the Trump Organisation developments at Menie this week.

The petition created by Huntly resident Clive Smith challenges the council to not just apologise but to promise that lessons have been learnt from what he describes as “this sad episode”.

Along with Mr Smith’s request to personally address full council on Thursday, it was to have been debated during the hearing for the 550 new homes at the Menie Estate.

However that application is now to be considered later this year following receipt of additional information from Trump International Golf Links Ltd.

Those proposals include plans for community facilities, shops, offices, food and drink provision, landscaping and supporting infrastructure.

The application was initially expected to be considered this month but as further information has now been provided by the applicant, the planning service will now undertake further consideration and consultation.

An updated report will first be brought back to Formartine Area Committee for comment before determination at a full meeting of Aberdeenshire Council.

But it does not prevent councillors from hearing from Clive Smith whose petition has received 245 signatures to-date.

Provost Bill Howatson has deemed the petition and Mr Smith’s request to speak competent.

In his online petition filed on the 38 Degrees website, Mr Smith states: “In 2008, members of Aberdeenshire Council and the Scottish Government were involved in granting a planning application which was submitted by the Trump Organisation for the development of a golf course on the Menie estate.

“The council supported the destruction of an irreplaceable nature conservation site on the basis of unlikely and exaggerated promises of jobs and investment which have never materialised.”

He says the council then refused to rule out using its powers of compulsory purchase to obtain residents’ homes on behalf of Mr Trump, causing great distress.

And he maintains approval of the latest “controversial application” must now be regarded as regrettable from the vantage point of the last couple of years.

He says: “We deserve an apology. This would require to be not just a token gesture but more of a promise that lessons will have to be learnt from this sad episode.”